A little girl lies in bed. Her father is at her side. “What story would you like to hear tonight?” the father asks. He prays that it is not Cinderella because the story is such a long one. All the time he hopes but knows if his little princess asks for Cinderella then that is what he will read because he is unable to tell her no. Maybe she will choose another story instead. Sometimes it is Beauty and the Beast, The Three Sillies, Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar, or the Gingerbread Man. However, a lot of the time it is Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella that is chosen as the nightly story.
That little girl was me. I spent every Saturday night with my dad when I was growing up. One of my most vivid memories was of our nightly bedtime stories. Sometimes I would beg for one story after another. I loved those times with my daddy. It was just me and him alone with no distractions. I loved falling asleep listening to the soothing sound of his voice as he read to me. Most nights I fell asleep during his reading but sometimes he was the one to fall asleep first. (I was paid back in full by my two boys and my nieces and nephews years later.)
As I said, my favorites were the fairy tales. Tales of princesses being rescued by Prince Charming. Of course they all ended with. . . and they lived happily ever after. Some critics say that these kind of stories should not be read to little girls. Their position is that girls need to be self-reliant and these stories make them victims. I am happy to say that I do not agree. Childhood is a time when life should be safe and carefree. There should be hope of living happily ever after. It does still happen. Granted it does not happen with the same frequency today that it once did but it still happens.
My parents were divorced when I was very young. In fact I don’t remember them ever being together. Today I was thinking about that and wondering if because I only remember my mom and step dad’s marriage has anything to do with the condition of my marriage and why it has lasted. The statistics are stacked against us since we both come from broken homes. I know it is not politically correct to use the term broken home but since I am the product of divorce and have had to endure all the trauma, embarrassment, and uncomfortable situations that come with it I feel that I am able to use my experiences to call it what it is.
I am not bashing those who have experienced divorce. I am not judging you. I can only bear witness to what divorce meant to me. I did have a wonderful childhood. I had a home with a mom, dad, a brother, and two sisters. We lived in the country in a house filled with love. I also had a dad, and grandparents that I visited every weekend. Somehow though I was conflicted over my feelings when I was with one parent and missed the other. I was not living the fairy tale life that my daddy’s stories described.
I don’t know if it was the stories, the example of my mom and step dad’s marriage, or simply an internal desire to live my own fairy tale that has driven me to live happily ever after. I was fortunate enough to meet Prince Charming. He truly is a prince if ever there was one. Our marriage is not perfect. I am not the perfect wife nor he the perfect husband. There have been many times over the years when each of us has thought, “what did I get myself into?” We have had our ups and downs and at times we have had to remind ourselves why we fell in love with each other to begin with.
The newness of love fades as time passes if you are not alert to the signs. Thankfully so far we have been on guard and instead of moving on to a “new love” as so many do we have made our “love new”. Today is our 26th anniversary. We talked tonight before J slipped into his coma of sleep about how the years have flown by. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were newlyweds and in a way we still are. I am thankful that God has kept His hand of protection on our marriage and I am proud to say that I am living my Happily Ever After.
Joey I want you to know that I love you with all of my heart. You are my reason for living. You truly are my better half and I cannot imagine living without you. You are my best friend, biggest fan, and my hero. Thank you for gracing my life for the past 28 years. You really are Prince Charming.
|Once Upon a Time|
|Living Happily Ever After|